When is a square not a square?
When it is a traffic island.
The square in history was designed to gather the populace together for many socio-political reasons as the only quick method to disseminate information or instructions to the community at large ("Council expected to ditch designs for George Square", The Herald, January 18 & Letters January 17, 18 and 21).
In a political sense, the presence representing those who were regarded as important to the community could be construed as the media of their time. Indeed, I do not require to remind you of the present-day circumstances whereby information on almost limitless topics is readily available.
A useful metaphor would be to compare a square to a theatre, in which the stage itself is a relatively plain surface to accommodate many functions. The character and visual attraction is gained from the surrounding scenery.
In the case of George Square, perhaps the surrounding architectural environment should receive greater consideration. This together with possible, though difficult, vehicular traffic control would be of greater value than the ubiquitous designer's view of just add grass, trees and maybe some water and all will be well. That is surely the poorer solution, in both cost and spirit.
To those involved in this project, I would suggest a tour of any Italian city, be it in person or by other means, to enrich the mind to focus on a solution worthy of Glasgow's architectural heritage.
Ándrew C Traub,
Ian Brooke is sadly mistaken in his assumption that a design featuring trees, grass and seating could be completed in time for the Commonwealth Games (Letters, January 21).
The whole impetus for the redesign of the square stems from the incredibly crass decision to site the Commonwealth Games beach volleyball event, of all things, in the square, thus necessitating the unseemly rush to remove the remaining grass, trees and statues, under the pretext that they suddenly required to be renovated.
28 Maxwell Drive,
The proposal to demolish the office block of Consort House occupied by Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) to allow expansion of the frontage and concourse of Queen Street station is interesting ("Radical plan for revamp of city station", The Herald, January 21).
The building that stood on this site in 1842 when Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway arrived to build the present station was a church, Wardlaw's Kirk, named after its prominent Congregationalist preacher, Ralph Wardlaw.
Initially, so it would appear, thwarted in attempts for its demolition at that time, temporal intervention overcame divine and it was acquired by the railway company for offices and was in continuous use as such until the 1960s.
It is mentioned in North British Railway folklore that anyone under any kind of misdemeanour "was wanted tae gang tae the kirk" to face the bosses.
I worked there from 1961 to 1964 and the interior was still recognisable as that of a church building. In point of fact we rather, irreverently, referred to the loft space used for storage as "Jerusalem".
175 Grahamsdyke Street,
Rather than spend money on enlarging the concourse of Queen Street station, which does nothing to address the station's (and Glasgow's) shortage of platforms and little to address the shortage of space, perhaps it might be time to go back to the future and reconstruct St Enoch station?
It should never have been demolished. Fortunately, as the only building constructed on the former site is half-empty and a ghastly carbuncle on the face of central Glasgow, compulsory purchase and demolition should only be a formality. The rebuilding could be readily incorporated into Glasgow Crossrail, which is also greatly overdue.
Network Rail seems to have plenty of money for cosmetic station restoration (which I recognise is necessary), but re-engineering the network to cope with increased demand doesn't get a look in, at least in Glasgow. A new St Enoch could be designed to incorporate retail space, platforms and car parking if necessary, although as Glasgow is awash with retail space it is hardly needed.
Shore Road, Kilcreggan.
The announcement that £4.6 million is to be invested in Scotland's canal network is surely to be welcomed ("Floating villages bid buoyed by £4.6m grant for canals", The Herald, January 19).
However, in West Dunbartonshire I believe some of this money would be much better spent on clearing Bowling harbour of the numerous small boat wrecks, cleaning up the surrounding area and repairing the harbour walls, rather than "upgrading a former railway bridge for a walking and cycling link".
Bowling harbour is already very well served by the well-maintained Sustrans Route 7 cycle track, and the old railway bridge goes nowhere.
I often wonder what visitors and tourists travelling north from Glasgow by train to Dumbarton, Balloch or Helensburgh must think when they pass Bowling harbour. The words neglect, mess, dereliction, potential and missed opportunities spring to mind. Scottish Canals, please take note.
82 Bonhill Road, Dumbarton.
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